Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012: Elder Bowles--I'm in a trio

Dear Mom and Dad:
 Happy Father's day from last week, sorry I forgot.  After
I was done emailing last week I was like oh shoot I didn't say happy
father's day.  Now you know.  Yes Elder Assay left to go to New Zealand on
Tuesday night and he gets there Thursday morning at 5:oo am in the
morning.  He was really excited to go.  I miss Elder Assay.  Elder Assay
was 6 month into the mission and somtimes we had arguments about some
rules.  I am like Elder Aasay I have a year and half experince you are 6
months use your common sense and follow the spirit.  All we are here for
is to preach the gospel.  I taught him a couple of rules and why
those rules are there.  I don't know if he liked that.  Oh well.

Yes I am still in Whittier, I am the only elder that is in the Granada
ward and the other two elders who are with me are in another ward.
Right now we cover two areas.  We are busy, we have not taught a lot
of lessons but we have been busy going from one appointment to another.
My companion's names are Elder Halvorsen who is from Nashville
Tennesse and the other one Elder West who is from Washington near
Seattle.  They are both my companions for 3 weeks.  There are some
good and bad things about a trio.  The bad thing is we have to split
the lesson in 3 different ways so each missionary can teach, and the
other thing is that if we are teaching sometimes the investigators
would lose their trust in that missionary.  The good things is that if
there is a single lady home by herself we can get in.  The reason is 2
will act like missionaries and the 3rd on will act as a member.  It
can be good and frustrating.  Do you remember that girl I was talking
about and the catholic boy who won't allow us back in.  I've been trying to
call and text her.  I just saw her the other day and I was like
hey.  We were both happy to see each other.  It was really good, she
wants to meet us.  We just have to meet at a park or something.  I
said hey did you get my text measseges or phone calls? She said no and
her phone is acting up.  Now the devil is really working and does not
want us to contact her.  The devil will not win I will keep doing it
and then he will give up.  I asked if she has been reading from the
Book of Mormon.  She said yes-- I was like sweet keep on reading it.  I
was so happy and we are going to find a place where we can meet. She
definitely  wants to meet with us.
 The cool expereice we had was in the other Elder's area.  We met their
investigator because he wanted to meet with us.  We listened to his problems
 and we answered them through the Book of Mormon.  It was really cool-- he was
thankful to meet with us.  After that we asked him if there is any service that we can
do for you.  He said no, but called us later in that day and asked if
we can help him with service.  We went right over and helped him out.
It was really good.  This week we had to get used to the trio And we
have been pretty busy. Everything went well.

This morning we went to the temple.  It was exciting and I felt the
spirit.  I had a hard time staying awake though but it was good.  Those are the
experiences I had.
Thanks.  Love ELder Bowles

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday June 25, 2012: Hermana Bowles--Zone picture

President and Sister Blunk at the Tarapoto Zone Conference.    This was downloaded
from Sister Blunk's mission blog at lpblunk.blogspot.com. If you go to the blog you can see fun pictures of Elder Cook and Elder Uchtforf on their visit to Iquitos. 

Monday June 25, 2012: Hermana Bowles

These are the props for our skit at District Meeting!  The little juane and the big juane.

Hola Familia:
In Zone Conference, Hermana Blunck talked about missionaries in the Book of Mormon and started on this tema (theme) that we are experiencing the Atonement FOR LIFE.  THe changes we make now don`t end in 18 months or 2 years....they are FOREVER. I `really cannot believe that I have more than one year in the Peru LIma North Mission now........Tampoco se que haria sin la Expiacion y esta experienca a realmente conocer a mi Salvador.
Hermana Vasquez is really incredible.  She`s so sharp.  She only has three months and I learn so much from her everyday.  She`s the third of four sisters and her oldest sister served a mission in Columbia.  We get along SO well and I am grateful to have her as a companion.  The funny part is that her house in Lima is close to mission headquarters and actually falls inside mission boundaries....for that reason, she thinks that she`ll spend her entire mission in the jungle.
The other elders in our branch in Moyo moved into our house.  What a lucky trade for them.....haha...they have a shower curtain of flowers and butterflies now.   heehee.
Feliz San Juan.......or here in la selva I guess I should say "Feliz San Fuan" because every j you practically pronounce with f.  Everyone in the jungle this week celebrated this holiday for John the Baptist, with the two main highlights being that everyone goes to the River Cumbaza and eats "Juanes" (rice and chicken packaged in leaves).   The "juane" represents the beheaded head of John the Baptist.  For our district sketch in the district talent show this week, our district sent various objects into the mad scientist machine to make small things bigger.....of course, we had to send a small juane through and make a giant one come out, hence, the picture.
The main celebration of San Juan fell on Sunday this year, which meant that church attendance was a little low.  President Blunck attended our branch this Sunday and spoke about Sunday being "Dia de Padre Celestial." (Heavenly Father's Day)  It was amazing how he explained that people find many reasons not to attend church on Sunday or to disobey that it is a day of rest.  He cited how he`d attended branches and wards with low attendance with reasons from.....oh it`s christmas....oh it`s new years.....oh there`s a school activity.....oh it`s the city anniversary.....oh it`s national independence day.....oh it`s mother`s day.....oh it`s father`s day.....He then asked the question of, "What day is the day of our Heavenly Father?"  It was a really powerful.
There were a wide variety of experiences this week.  President and Sister Blunck came for Zone Conference.  Once again, so powerful!  It was a conference that I`d had two weeks earlier in Moyobamba, but it was amazing to see the Spirit guide President with different needs in this area.  Many things were the same, of course, but hearing a repeat of this special training, helped me a lot.  Another day we found ourselves with a 16 year old from an Adventista family.  We knocked on the door and found her alone at home (her dad was working and her mom was in the middle of something.)  She said something like "Yeah, we`re adventistas, but come in!"  As we started talking to her she commented how she`d gotten tired of church and really only went because her parents took her.  She really was so curious and thanks to her parents, knew the scriptures really well......the only obstacle might be that her father is the pastor of their congregation....I guess we`ll see what happens this week.
We taught one family about the restoration and it was neat because their lesson was something perfectly out of the MTC.  The wife said the closing prayer and started crying halfway through the prayer.  She finished and Hna. VAsquez and I didn`t quite know exactly what to do.  We asked her if she was alright and with tears asked us when we could come back.  She had us write down all the information about the church, what day we meet, the address.....it was pretty incredible and once we were outside we started jumping up and down.  The woman`s name was Milagros, or in English: MIracles.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday June 22, 2012: Hermana Bowles pictures

Today we received a package from Hermana Bowles with several letters and pictures.  It was pretty amazing because it was a year ago exactly today that she entered the MTC in Provo!  That wass quite the tender mercy.  Here are some fun pictures.

I have no idea what the name of this fruit is...but it is oh so yummy.  Looks a lot like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Flower display left over after the celebration/anniversary of the death of San Martin.   Lucky for Hermana Rodriguez and I, we live right in front of the plaza where they celebrate everything cultural.  Yet another reason I know that transfers are by revelation--the two cultural buffs are in the cathedral-full, plaza culture side of the city!

Church ended one Sunday and one of the young meant (...clearly someone from young men!)
found this GIANT katydid.  We had a good time playing with it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

6/22/12 Letter excerpts from Hermana Bowles


“I’m sitting right now in a combi…maybe I should describe a little more about these combi excursions.  Combis are vans..they remind me a lot of the Scooby-Doo gang flower-mobile.  There are combi stations in the bigger “pueblitos.”  For instance, there are stations in Tarapoto, Moyo, Rioja, and Nueva CajaMarca.  At any given hour there are vans waiting and filling to go to one of these cities.  The vans leave as soon as they’re full and the incoming empty van retakes its place and so they go until 8 or 9 o’clock at night, shuttling people across the jungle and rice field highway.  Each combi fits 18 passengers and 1 driver.  It’s a tight squeeze sometimes, (especially if we have to sit on the very back row where they fit four…and not all the people are the same size…) and I often literally feel like a sardine smushed into an aluminum can.  Sometimes people get off at random parts in the highway where they live.  The thing is , there are the old rusty combis, or great and spacious large ones.  We always end up waiting for the nice new ones because they are so much more secure.  Regardless, neither type use a speedometer but don’t worry…we’re still alive.  Let’s just say that Peruvians aren’t known for their driving skills.  I think that its maybe a good thing that there are only moto taxis or motorcycles here for the most part.

Here we are--the zone in the combo traveling to the last zone conference and interviews with
 President Blunck in Tarapoto.  All sixteen of us fit in the same combo.  Everyone has suckers that Hna. Rodriguez "regal" (gifted) to everyone.  She is addicted to spicy stuff and suckers are no exception.  These suckers had a secret hot patch in the center....I about choked and threw my sucker out the window when I go to that point.  
February through June has been the most incredible growth experience of my life.  I am not afraid to say that it was awful and wonderful all at the same time.  I love this picture because it shows how much we've grown together.  Cute little Mexicana Hermana Rodriguez is amazing!
Things I love about Moyobamba:

            RAIN—The storms have calmed down some, but it still usually gets hot right before the rain comes pouring down.
            JUANES—rice-filled leaves that are typical
            ORCHIDS GROWING ON TREE TRUNKS—“orchideas” (orchids) grow with scraggly roots off the limbs of trees.  You can find them naturally or implants of plants.
            SAYING GOOD-BYE—Hermana Rodriguez started our good-byes after internet today and the route included everyone from everywhere…the photo-developing man—the snack cart lady in front of our house—the landlord—the mail lady—the grocery store clerks—the catholic priest from Spain—the woman who sells “Aquaje” on the corner of 2 de Mayo and Reyes  Guerra.
            “VOZ DEL CIELO”—Surprise, surprise…but our last name is a little difficult to pronounce here.  The pronunciation that comes off most common here is “voz” which actually means “voice.”  Some of the branch members have started a funny play on words where they say “la voz del cielo” which means “voice from the heavens.”
            BOOTS—Never in a million years did I imagine I would use rainboots when proselyting.  When we go down where it’s really muddy to “Miraflores,” the women selling their fried chicken have grown so accustomed to seeing us with boots that
now they shout ”Botitas” (little boots)… or when we’re walking and don’t have the boots they shout, “Where are the boots?” And start rolling around on their benches laughing themselves sick.

**Being here in dear sweet Branch Belen has given me such respect for early members of the church…..so few and so strong!

Beautiful isn't it?  Like I have said before...we live in paradise.  The selva (jungle) clearly is the coveted spot in the mission.  Of all the places, though, Moyo is known above them all for it its beauty.  Sure holds true in this shot!

I think this picture would fit in nicely in the next jungle--National Geographic, don't you?
The beauty of the jungle in the smallest details shows that God is an artist.  The most minuscule thing here is absolutely gorgeous.  That scripture in Alma about the earth itself being a sign that God lives is so cool.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday June 18, 2012: Elder Bowles--My Companion got his Visa!

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well the biggest news is that My companion who was a visa waiter is
going to New Zealand tomorrow night.  On Friday we got a call from our
mission president saying Elder Assey, you got your visa and you are
flying to new zealand on Tuesday night around 9:48.  I don't know
what's going to happen to me.  I know mabye I will be a solo
companion.  yes ha ha.  President has not told me anything but we are
going to his house for brownies and icecream and it is going to be
really good.  I'll tell you next week on what hapened to me.

This week was good, we taught a lot of people.  We got a new
investigator and how we got her is interesting, I'll tell you about it.
There were these pest control people going around trying to sell their
product.  We were walking and we hear, "Hey Elders."  We look back and it's
those pest control people I was like oh no they are everywhere.  They
were LDS and we started talking and right before he leave I was like
hey do you know who would be interested in our message, you are kind
of doing this too?  ha ha.  He was like actually I just sold one to this
lady up the street her name is Rachelle, I think she would be
interested.  The pest control guy is Jordan.  Jordan was like I'll
introduce her to you guys alright?  We are like okay.  We go up the street
and Jordan tells Rachelle, " I met these missionaries down the road and
they share a meassege about Jesus Christ and how the gospel has been
restored on the earth again.  I used to serve a mission also.  She said
we can teach her and we got in.  Jordan tells Elder Assey you want me
to come or I'll just go.  I told him Jordan you will receive the
blessings so he stayed in for the lesson for that hour.  We taught a
wonderful lesson about the plan of salvation and what our purpose is in
this life.  It was really good and she invited us to come back again.  It
was really cool I never thought that would happen from a pest conrtrol
person.  So that was really cool.

Next me and Elder Assey taught a person who does not believe in God or
didn't know there was a God.  It was difficult to teach him because we
would tell him about God and he will be like what is that?  We taught
him and before we left we invited him to look up toward the night sky and
you will know what we meant.

Another teaching experience was our investigator Jessica.  She is really cool and
really wants to learn.  She asked that she would like to learn more
about faith and how to obtain more faith.  We read with her in the
Book of Mormon about that.  It's in Ether chapt 12 and talks about faith
and how people practiced that faith in the Book of Mormon.  She liked
it but right when we were about done her father in law walks in the
room and sees us then left.  Jessica was like I am so dead!  I am
doomed, oh well.  We left and we got a text from her an hour later
saying sorry guys I can't have you come over because my father in law
owns the property and does not want you over here.  Her father in law
is a hard straight forward Catholic and didn't really like us.  So I
don't know what's going to happen.  Mabye we can teach her at the park or
at the church-- I am not giving up if she is still interested.  So that's
what went on this week.

One more-- a mailman was talking to us this week and said, "Are you
Mormon?"  We said yes and then she said no offense but you are a cult.
She kept talking about bible scriptures and then I told her I have one
question,  Do you know what a cult means?  She said something else and it
was not correct.  I told her what it actually means is a cult is an
organized religion.    I said. "What is your religion?"  she said
something then I told her that's a cult.  She denied it and I said any
religion is a cult yes we are a cult your religion is a cult.  It was
frustrating that she didn't get it.  Then she was like, "Why do you have
the Book of Mormon, where did Moroni come from, it's not in the Bible.  I
was like of course not because the Bible was written in Jeruselem
and The Book of Mormon was written in America.  She wanted to bash.
 I was like whatever.  She didn't like when we called her a cult.  She was
teaching false doctrine and we are there to teach correct doctrine.  SO it was really good.

It was a good week.  We taught many people and we will see what happens next week.

Love Elder Bowles.  
Oh yeah, one more thing, sorry Mom, Dad needs to
answer this.  Dad can you sent me my line of authority?  I need one
because when they say you don't have priesthood authority I can show
them that it traces all the way back.  If you can send
me that, that would be great.  Thanks  Love you

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday June 18, 2012: Hermana Bowles--I've been transferred!

Hola Familia!
Drumrollllllllllllllllllll I was transferred Tuesday to Tarapoto.   Well, technically I`m now in Morales which is like a suburb of Tarapoto.   I now live in selva baja which means it is a lot hotter here (even though we`re supposedly leaving winter and just barely entering into summer), but the heat is delicious and the sun keeps me smiling.
The biggest transfer news is that there are no longer hermanas in Moyobamba.   They split the four of us between Lima, Iquitos, and Tarapoto and didn`t send reemplacements.   Zona Moyobamba is only 12 Elders now.
I love my new companion----Hermana Vasquez, from Lima.   She started her mission 3 months ago here in Morales and is such a good missionary.   She jokes about my Spanglish and we get along really well.   The neatest/newest/strangest/cosa que me asusto mas de Morales fue que that here in the branch Partido Alto there are 6 missionaries.  S.I.X.  There are the district leaders (Elder Salinas, Ecuador and Elder Arcela, Peru) ,  me and Hna. Vasquez, and another companionship of Hermanas (Hna. Grow, USA and Hna. Melo, Uruguay).  Branch Partido Alto is so special because they have six missionaries!  The branch is split in 3 sectors that we work in.  The Elders are Partido Alto, we are Morales 1, and the other hermanas are Morales 2.  They`re  trying to have a casa capilla (church in house?) in Morales so the services can be closer for everyone and they can start another branch and I think that`s something really exciting to be apart of.  The district is really close-knit and I`ve already loved serving here week 1.
Zona Tarapoto is unique because there are more hermanas than Elders.   There are the zone leaders, district leaders, and the rest are hermanas.  It`s really different, but  definitely exciting to be somewhere new.
Arrived here Tuesday morning and Hna. Vasquez and Hna. Gee picked me up from the terminal.  Hna. Gee actually serves in downtown Tarapoto, but we were in a trio together until Thursday night because her new companion from the CCM was waiting on VISA papers and had to wait a little longer to enter the field.  I hadn`t been in a trio since the MTC days, but it really was so much fun.  We went back and forth a little between the areas to have appointments in both and it was when we were in Tarapoto that the funniest thing happened.  Went to one of Hna. Gee`s appontments with a lady in her store.  We started teaching her about the restoration and at one point after we`d taught about prophets, her granddaughter came home.  Come to find out, her granddaughter had assisted (attended church) for years in Chiclayo but hasn`t been baptized yet (15 years old) because she doesn`t have her mom`s permission.  Anyway we asked her if she ould explain to us what a prophet is.  She didn`t have an answer and we turned back to her Grandma and asked her the same question.  Her response (and I quote!):   Oh, you mean like Joseph Smith?   The three of us gasped out loud.   Turns out that she had listened to missionaries hace 18 anos (18 years ago)  and believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet I`m excited to ask Hna. Gee more of what happened to her today.
It`s amazing meeting more and more members of the church in a new area.  It strengthens my testimony so much seeing the success of the message we teach.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday June 11, 2012: Elder Bowles--Elder Holland Came!

Dear Mom and Dad:
Elder Holland was amazing!!!! He is such a good
speaker.  The experience that I had this week was him.  This whole week
we have been inviting people to come and listen to an Apostle of the
Lord.  That's what we have been doing all week and I don't know how many
people we went by.  Now I'll talk about Elder Holland.  The reason
he came down was they had to change the stake presidency.  It was
time up for the old one and they needed to call a new one.  Elder  
Holland needed to come and do it.  He spoke at the adult session
Saturday night and Sunday morning.  We were able to go to the adult
session because a nonmember went with us.   It was
really good.  The Saturday session had 3 speakers then Elder Holland spoke.
The speakers spoke how faith in Jesus Christ has helped them, and how they
can get it and how it can be applied in real life.  It was all really
 Elder holland came up and he told us that he was going to take
the scriptures and talk about the scriptures, instead he put away his
scriptures and wanted to talk to us.  He was going point to point
then he finally figuered what he want to talk about.  He had no
talk prepared it was done by the spirit.  Aaaaa it was so good.  I
will talk of the few highlights of what happened.
 First he said "every day you look in the mirror and you shout for joy"  Then he
tells us the nature of god and how God loves Broken things.  He gave
examples why God loves broken things.  The clouds break in order to
give rain, the seed of a plant must break before it can grow, and he
can heal your broken heart.  It was really good.  He said when Jesus
died on the cross he explained what happened when he got stabbed by
the spear on his side.  He said Jesus Christ died of
a broken heart.  He talked for one hour straight that how good it was.

I quote from Elder Holland:   "When times get tough, or when things are
not working out for you, or you feel crap, this is what you should not
do!  God must hate me, that is the stupid thing to say!!!   He pounded on
the pulpit you cannot say God hates me, that is the last thing you can
say.  He talked about more things how God is a loving God and we have
the gospel here on the earth and that will make us happy.  As long you
stay in the boat you will stay in the gospel we must reach out to our
friends and get them back in the boat"  Each one of us will have to
break our heart, but we will get it back and more.  Resurrection!!  We
will get a perfect body back all of us and we will get a new heart.
But we will have to die of a broken heart and we will get it back,
That's how merciful God is.  I know times are tough now but let him
heal your broken heart in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

It was really good.  I love the way Elder Holland speaks, sometimes he
will be funny and as he talks he will get sad, emotional and serious.
When he talks he talks like he is an angel of God.  He talks
smooth and slow, he talks so that everyone understands him.  He is
really good.  That is my missionary experience.  I heard that when he
spoke at the priesthood leadership meeting (which we did not go) 
 he had a wirless microphone and was walking around and telling them
to reactivate less actives and find more people to teach.  I heard it
was super intense.

Everything went good I was super excited about him coming and have been
inviting everyone over it was good.  Yesterday we talked to a guy that says
the bible contains all we need, I was like okay if it contained all
we need why are there so many different churches, he couldn't really
answer that.  Me and Elder Assey told him why we need another
Testament of Jesus Christ.  We need another witness so we can all be on
the same page.  Like a car wreck the police officer would like to know
if there was a second witness to the scene.  Same thing and we told
him just read and pray about it and you will receive your answer.  He
just didn't get it and we will send him of to the Spanish
missionaries ha ha  spanish is better for him.
 I am sorry I don't have lot to say.  But Elder Holland came and spoke.  
Before he left Whittier he said he was going to give a blessing on the stake, an Apostalic
Blessing to the Stake of Whittier.  It was really cool.  So All is Well,
all is well.
Love Elder Bowles

June 11, 2012: Pictures from Moyo"

"Good thing we have boots!"

"Oh how we love p-days"

Making no bake cookies with the branch relief society.  We probably should have
let them sit and harden longer but at least they were edible!

Monday June 11, 2012: Hermana Bowles: The Last of my sweet dear Moyo

Well this is it.   THE. LAST. LETTER. FROM. MOYO.   I honestly cannot believe that I`ve spent nearly half the mission here. You`re right, it`s so bitter sweet to be leaving.   The thing is that I don`t know where I`m going yet.   The zone leaders are refusing to tell us for at least another hour when we go to the the transfers meeting.   Elder Smith flashed me a signal that I`m going to Tarapoto,  but it`s not really sure yet.   Rumor has it that they`re pulling all of the hermanas out of Moyo..no new hermanas enter this change and so supposedly they`re taking us four and putting us where the four who are ending were.   If that`s true, the branch will be really really sad!!!  There are only 3 options for hermanas--iquitos, lima, tarapoto.   Pray for Iquitos J
This week has been one of the emotional ones of my life.   Wednesday night, Lourdes`baptism fell through.   Problems came up with her family and Wednesday night everything came to a halt.  We`re praying that someone can find her in the future when she`s ready.
It seems like that happened with a lot of families this week.  Everything was put behind a mask of "my parents think this.....we`ve alwyas been catholic....we live in the grandparents house......."
 I think my heart just about died.   It`s tough.....I`ve worked 8 months here and we were finally so close to having a baptism....but I guess that`s how it works with faith.   I`ve given everything I have here.....it doesn`t look like it.. but I have.   We worked and worked and worked and I felt my faith so strong saying..."We did it!!"   and then it came crashing down.,......I guess that`s how it works, huh?   I know Heavenly Father is aware of what`s gone on here.   Nothing else matters.
We made the no-bake cookies with the Relief Society this week....they turned out a little funny, but they were edible.   I think we should``ve waited longer until they hardened....
Celebrated Corpus Cristi in the plaza yesterday and shut down the plaza downtown to draw and place beautiul alfombras of colored saw dust to celebrate.   I`m happpy that we remember something like this everyday in the plaza.
One of the newest families we met is so wonderful.  They made us dinner on Saturday and are really interested.  The youngest of their three children suffers from cerebral palsy and the dad is having to come out of 16 years of resentment feelings, but he and his wife are so amazing.  It`s neat because we`ve been focusing on finding stories in The Book of Mormon to relate to people and in Alma 20 it relates perfectly to how he`s feeling.  He`s told us that they`ve started praying together and it`s amazing to see the difference in just two visits.
Smile.   God loves you.
love always,
Hermana Bowles

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Letter Excerpts from Hermana Bowles--6-6-12

I think Moyobamba is such a beautiful paradise...extra time spent during the creation!  As small as Moyobamba is, I know God values each of his children equally.  For that reason, I loved Elder Holland's talk in the last conference--"No matter at what "hour" we are hired, the "wage" at the end of the day will be the same.  Our job is to always honor covenants.  Those we made at baptism and those in sacred temples."  I can imagine Moyo as a Stake one day and how happy the thought makes me.  Gospel seeds are being planted here!

Mmmm   I love bananas!

Wow, Hermanas--rain or shine they keep working hard.

Did they write on the wall just for Kristin?  She just happens to be 22 years old!

Rain doesn't slow down the hermanas!

The "Morro" or hill that can be seen from all around Moyobamba.